I've always lived in a large household. From birth, I lived with my grandparents, aunts, uncles and immediate family.
Despite the constant crowd of people in my home, I always felt lonely as a child. I was the youngest, and my two older brothers never wanted anything to do with me. I don't have many memories as a child, and the ones I do have aren't pleasant. It wasn't until my little brother was born that I finally had someone to connect with and rely on, someone whose entire world was me.
Throughout the years, my family has gone through some wear and tear. We've suffered our parents' divorce and estrangement from my father's side of the family, as well as lost bonds with my mother's side of the family as a result of moving cities.
The amount we've gone through has resulted in tension between us. The quirky, wholesome family shows on TV don't depict what my family has. Rather, it represents the opposite of what we are.
I don't feel truly close to my family. My mom has since remarried and had two more children, children who are 14 and 17 years younger than I am. This is how I see my family dynamic: My mom, stepfather and their kids live in this exciting and beautiful world that the other four of us don't exactly get to be a part of. The other four of us live in our own world, as well, but not together.
My oldest brother has moved out and has a full-time job. My other brother and I have school, work and social lives that we put all of our time and energy into.
And then there's my little brother, who I feel is the most distant of us all. Over the years, our differences have pulled us apart. And although I'm the closest to him out of everyone in the family, I still feel like our relationship has become wasted potential.
It pains me to see my family like this.
I especially realized how distant we were at my little brother's eighth-grade graduation. Only me, one of my older brothers and my mom showed up. For someone with a big family, he had a small crowd to show off.
My older brother and I had a conversation about this a month ago. We were in Mexico, and over dinner we had a raw discussion about our family and our subtle, yet pressing, distance. We vowed to have more time together, truly as a family. And that's exactly what we've done.
We want to create an ideal family for our younger siblings, allowing them to realize what a blessing it is to have so many of us.
I'm excited to watch us continue to grow closer together. Sometimes I fear that moving out for university will limit my interactions with them, but I continue to focus purely on the present.
I couldn't even find a picture of all of us to go along with this article.